Thursday, May 31, 2012 | 1:27 p.m.
Business and civic leaders launched the “Rediscover Downtown” campaign Thursday morning to announce a monthslong campaign targeting Las Vegas residents who may have never visited the area.
The announcement took place during a news conference in the parking lot of El Cortez Hotel & Casino on 6th Street, less than a block north of East Fremont Street where most of downtown’s “rebirth” is occurring. Rich Worthington, chairman of the Downtown Las Vegas Alliance, acknowledged that “downtown was once perceived as a place where there wasn’t much going on, a place that wasn’t safe, and a place where parking was scarce and difficult.”
Worthington, president/CEO of The Molasky Group of Cos., called the downtown of 2012 a “far cry from that unfortunate perception.” To make his point, he cited change in two categories of crime: Violent crimes downtown are down 18 percent from 2010; property crimes downtown are down more than 16 percent over the same time.
The Downtown Alliance is spending some $60,000 on the promotional campaign, said Terry Murphy, Alliance vice chair. The group is planning a “Rediscover Downtown Day” in October.
Worthington said Zappos, the online shoe/clothing retailer, “changed the game with its landmark decision to relocate downtown” in late 2009. Zappos’ CEO Tony Hsieh has since helped create the “Downtown Project,” which plans to invest $350 million in downtown real estate, residential development, small business, education and tech start-ups.
A Zappos representative appeared in a video created for the promotion but did not attend the news conference. Those who attended included Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Las Vegas City Council members Bob Beers and Bob Coffin, along with several owners and operators of downtown businesses.